Why not using cheap tuning hammers?

Posted by: Rieman

Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/21/12 07:16 PM

I buyed a 20$ tuning hammers. And I cant tune my piano with it. I dont know if that is becuse I am a bad tuner or becuse the hammer is bad.

The tip dont fit realy good on the tuning pins, the hammer is wobling a lot. But when I aplay pressure on it the friction makes the hammer stick to the tuning pins.

When I want to make fine adjustments, I put a little tension on the hammer and nothing happens I put a litle more tension and sudenly the pin moves 5 degreas and the unison sounds realy bad.

Will a have simular problems if I go for a more expensive hammer?
If you think I shuld upgrade my hammer, are there anything I shult pay atension to? And how can I know I dont get cheated?
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/21/12 07:20 PM

With tools, you get what you pay for....
Posted by: David Jenson

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/21/12 09:25 PM

Originally Posted By: beethoven986
With tools, you get what you pay for....
'Exactly! A really good hammer will cost you about the same as the price of two tunings.
Posted by: Emmery

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/21/12 09:32 PM

Your cheap hammer probably has low grade steel on the tip and it is deforming as you try and tune with it. Eventually it will be completely useless for tuning; it will still work well for hitting yourself in the head for buying it in the first place.

Pay attention to the tip, it should have threads attaching it to the head. This will allow you to change it out if it wears. A good tip like a Watanabe for example will cost you as much as the $20 you paid for the whole thing. I think you need to spend at least $80-100 for even an entry level hammer that will last you a long time. Someone doing this for a living would want to get one that is at least in the $120-150 range. The uber hammers can cost 3 times this much.
Posted by: Mark Cerisano, RPT

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/21/12 11:29 PM

Hi Reiman,
Something doesn't sound right with your post. I'm going to out on a limb and call your bluff. Are you really a newbie DIY or a piano tuner trying to have a little fun in the forum?
Posted by: accordeur

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/22/12 12:17 AM

A good quality tip, and a good lever is an advantage to someone starting out.

You can own the best tool, but if you can't use it, it is useless.

I guess these 20$ levers serve their purpose, to make honestly committed DIY'ers, realise and rethink the amount of experience needed in order to set a pin.

Experienced tuners can tune a piano with a student hammer. It's no fun and annoying. But they can. Amateurs are in for a ride.

I use a Fujan, and on some grands, with my long tip, I can't tune A0 because it is beneath the music desk rail.

I keep an old pitching hammer, must be 80 years old now, short tip and a bent shaft and a wooden handle.

Best tip ever, as good as the day it was machined. But the flex in the shaft is evident, you can see it bend before the pin.

So....

All the best.
Posted by: Rieman

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/22/12 03:27 AM

Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Hi Reiman,
Something doesn't sound right with your post. I'm going to out on a limb and call your bluff. Are you really a newbie DIY or a piano tuner trying to have a little fun in the forum?

Its no bluff. I have never tuned a piano before.
Another question, do I need #2 tip if my tuning pins are 5mm (3/16 in) closest top the pianist and 6mm (1/4 in) closest to the strings?
Posted by: pianohead30

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/22/12 01:38 PM

I have 2 tuning hammers, one was my grandfathers from the 1930's which still works fine, sometimes on older pianos, it doesnt grip as well, and the other is the same hammer I got when I took the courses from The American Piano Tuning School at home. It might be cheap? But it still works for me. Perhaps I should look into a better quality of hammers. Still new to all this so....learning.
Posted by: Supply

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/22/12 08:17 PM

Originally Posted By: Rieman
I buyed a 20$ tuning hammers. And I cant tune my piano with it. I dont know if that is becuse I am a bad tuner or becuse the hammer is bad...
I just bought a $130 tuning tip plus a $35 adapter to fit onto my $300 + tuning lever. I am very happy with it - it works quite well. This is probably because I have learned to tune pianos efffectively and I invest in good quality tools.

For someone who wants to tune their own piano such as yourself, you may help among your peers at this Yahoo group:
DIY pianotunings
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/22/12 08:28 PM

Originally Posted By: Supply
I just bought a $130 tuning tip plus a $35 adapter...



Woah! Who makes that?!
Posted by: Zeno Wood

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/22/12 08:33 PM

If you have never tuned before and are using a $20 tool, then the reasonS you aren't finding success are because you are bad tuner (no offense intended) AND the hammer is bad.

Solutions: Become a better tuner and get a better tool. Easy!
Posted by: Supply

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/22/12 09:49 PM

Beethoven - I brought one in from Europe to try it out. If I like it I will carry it and offer it to technicians. I have just tuned a few pianos with it. I will hopefully know more after further testing, so stay tuned...
arf arf
Posted by: David Jenson

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/22/12 09:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Supply
For someone who wants to tune their own piano such as yourself, you may get help among your peers at this Yahoo group:
DIY pianotunings


WOW! THAT was an entertaining site. Sites like that may explain a couple of very odd tunings I've encountered lately.
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/22/12 11:53 PM

Originally Posted By: Supply
Beethoven - I brought one in from Europe to try it out. If I like it I will carry it and offer it to technicians. I have just tuned a few pianos with it. I will hopefully know more after further testing, so stay tuned...
arf arf


Sounds good! thumb
Posted by: Mark R.

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/23/12 06:00 AM

Rieman,

I would like to add my perspective, having started to tune about 3 years ago, and having done only tens (not hundreds or thousands) of tunings. As others have written, a cheap lever, and especially a cheap, poorly-made tip will be counterproductive to your learning - and they may well damage your piano's tuning pins. OK, that's the one extreme.

The other extreme is spending many hundreds of dollars. While professionals such as Jurgen may be happy to do this, I don't regard those amounts as even remotely necessary for a beginner. Especially a tip for $130!

Emmery has already indicated that there is a suitable middle ground between these extremes. Quite a decent lever can be bought for $100 ($150 at most), and good tips, e.g. Watanabe, for about $20. In my case, I don't think that my Schaff extension lever and Watanabe tip are limiting me (yet). To the contrary, they inspire me to make more of each tuning I do.
Posted by: kpembrook

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/23/12 10:39 AM

Hi,
We help piano do-it-yourself people. Send a PM and I can give you more information.
Posted by: Weiyan

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/23/12 10:52 AM

Originally Posted By: Supply
Beethoven - I brought one in from Europe to try it out. If I like it I will carry it and offer it to technicians. I have just tuned a few pianos with it. I will hopefully know more after further testing, so stay tuned...
arf arf

Supply, waiting your supply.
Posted by: Weiyan

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/23/12 11:06 AM

If you are a professional pianist or playing piano as your life long bobby, its worth to invest a set of quality tool. A high quality hammer cost far lesser than an ipad.
Posted by: Emmery

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/23/12 02:07 PM

Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: Supply
I just bought a $130 tuning tip plus a $35 adapter...



Woah! Who makes that?!


He might have meant "$13" for the tip I think...probably a typo.

Beware of tips sold with lifetime guarantees...they simply tag a $10 handling fee (+shipping) to the shipped replacement and still make their money on the ~$3 pacific rim import.
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/23/12 03:03 PM

Originally Posted By: Emmery
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Originally Posted By: Supply
I just bought a $130 tuning tip plus a $35 adapter...



Woah! Who makes that?!


He might have meant "$13" for the tip I think...probably a typo.



I'm not so sure. Jurgen is not really known for selling inexpensive items, and $13 is like half of what the Watanabes cost.
Posted by: dancarney

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/23/12 03:28 PM

He might be referring to the BKB tips from Germany. Very expensive, but considering the tip is the only point of contact with the wrest pin, there is much sense in investing in quality.
Posted by: Don B. Cilly

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/23/12 06:27 PM

Oh in Germany they are now selling carbon tuning hammers with rosewood tips.

Since this looks like the sort of thread, though, may I ask a newbie question?

Just why do they call it a hammer, it's not a hammer, it's a wrench?
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/23/12 06:58 PM

Originally Posted By: Don B. Cilly
Oh in Germany they are now selling carbon tuning hammers with rosewood tips.


Carbon fiber hammers are nothing new. The handle is rosewood, not the tip. The tip is what goes on the pin, and it's made of steel.


Originally Posted By: Don B. Cilly
Just why do they call it a hammer, it's not a hammer, it's a wrench?


Don't know. It bugs me, too. I usually just call it a "piano tuning thingy".
Posted by: Dave B

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/23/12 07:38 PM

A 'ball peen' hammer with a socket tip on the other end was used back in the day. Turn the pin and tap it down with the peen hammer side. Here in modern times, most suppliers list them as 'Tuning Levers'.
Posted by: Del

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/24/12 05:01 AM

Originally Posted By: Dave B
A 'ball peen' hammer with a socket tip on the other end was used back in the day. Turn the pin and tap it down with the peen hammer side. Here in modern times, most suppliers list them as 'Tuning Levers'.

But why did they turn the the hammer around and "tap it down?"

Early tuning pins were tapered and tapping them down was a way to seat the pin firmly in the hole and get it to stay where it was put.

Hence the tool was both a tuning lever and a hammer. Modern tuners refer to them by both names.

ddf
Posted by: Olek

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/24/12 07:48 AM

never seen a tapered early tuning pin, not on European pianos, in my limited experience.

but tapping a few mm allow to gain a little grip in new wood, while providing a few years of tuning, it also may lower the quality of the pin setting because the angle of the wire with the coil may be compromized (or the coils may finish touching the pinblock)

so this is a so so solution, while convenient, may be used with finesse and sometime the gain is minimal.

called "tamponnage des chevilles", or "tubage" in French
Posted by: Supply

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/24/12 11:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Rieman
I buyed a 20$ tuning hammers. And I cant tune my piano with it. I dont know if that is becuse I am a bad tuner or becuse the hammer is bad

While this statement is somewhat laughable to professionals (someone called it a bluff), perhaps laypeople cannot entirely comprehend why. I submit this comparison:
"I bought a set of golf clubs online for $49.-. But I still can't shoot a hole in one. Is it me or the clubs?"

Further comments of mine would be: Congratulations on hearing that your tuning is not good (I am serious). This means your hearing ability is better than your tuning ability. This is the way it should be. Even good tuners walk away from their tunings with a sense that they have not quite achieved perfection. That is what allows us to incrementally improve our skills and abilities and our work in pursuit of excellence over a number of years, if not decades.

Most DIYers actually think their tunings are good because their hearing discernability is so limited that they simply cannot hear the out-of-tuneness. We have seen numerous video postings of such "tunings". For the most part, these pianos are about as out of tune (after "tuning") as the ones professional tuners sit down to tune.

One more thing: You ask if you are a bad tuner. No. You are not a tuner. Just as buying a stethoscope would not make you a health practitioner.
Posted by: Phil D

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/24/12 11:21 PM

Originally Posted By: Supply
Even good tuners walk away from their tunings with a sense that they have not quite achieved perfection. That is what allows us to incrementally improve our skills and abilities and our work in pursuit of excellence over a number of years, if not decades.


This is the single thing that I love the most about this job. The sense that, even after a succesful tuning, I know I could have done better. A wonderful insentive to continually improve!
Posted by: Rieman

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/25/12 05:17 AM

My piano i 8 cent flat and my mobile tunelab software wants me to do a overpull of 2 cents, is that something i shuld trust on?
Posted by: Olek

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/25/12 05:18 AM

one may be a little masochist to be a tuner then.

or the "good enough" thinking begin to be prevalent.

Generally speaking one can know he have done the best he can under particular circumstances, but indeed no real standard exists in regard of tuning result.

because of ear fatigue it is difficult to correct a tuning while doing it, so often you hear in the end of the job that you could have do a part differently, sometime it is only the piano which settle in the new tuning.

taking a rest during tuning is the most useful thing. Concert tuning should be done in 2 parts the last (before concert) being better than the first. but this is highly theoretical..
Posted by: Phil D

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/25/12 11:46 AM

Haha I'm not so sure about masochism but yes, we must be our own critics - coming to a final check and finding so many things out of place and correcting them. Reconsidering the tuning of some notes over the break or at the extreme ends, second-guessing oneself. Even when the final result is as good as it can be, there are always parts during the tuning process that I wish I could have solved quicker or been more confident in - one always has to keep moving and not obsess over individual notes, sometimes that has to happen before you're happy with that note. But we come back, we correct. It's fun smile
Posted by: Olek

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/25/12 06:09 PM

Most piano tuners (including concert tuners) have that "doubts".

This is due , to me, to the absence of "rule" to ascertain the level of sympathetic resonance the tuning is providing.

also the "overpull" is obtained by expercience and feel and it is not (in my experience) related to a precise technique, no real method to be sure of the amount of overpull used (at 4 cts there is yet clear settling, and all tuners tune "high", not "pure", with methods as pure 5th, pure 12ths, a certain amount of acceleration between 3d and tenth or tenth and 17th, or a software)

So you check your tuning once settled, and only feel and experience is ruling that light overpull.


add the temperature change at some point in the day and it is understandable that the final check show things we wigh to have obtained differently..

The main effect of the method provided by Alfredo is that it gives an etalon to the max resonance; this can serve as a reference, and it gives a lot of confidence to the tuner (even experienced concert tuners find the advantage there, as the last brick for a wall, as a definitive clearing of concepts that where a little unclear.)
Posted by: Rieman

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/31/12 08:17 AM

If you are tuning the right string to the left string on a two string unison how do you know if the right string is sharp or flat?
Posted by: Mark R.

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/31/12 08:54 AM

You can lift the dampers and pluck the two strings of the unison. Often, one can hear which one is flat.

Or you can play the note and turn the tuning lever anti-clockwise. One of two things will happen:

1) If the beat speed increases, the right string was already flat. You have made it flatter, so you need to change the direction to clockwise.

2) If the beat speed decreases, it was sharp. You need to keep going anti-clockwise until the beat disappears.
Posted by: Supply

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/31/12 08:01 PM

Originally Posted By: Rieman
If you are tuning the right string to the left string on a two string unison how do you know if the right string is sharp or flat?
You can tell by hearing it. Learning to tune takes hundreds of hours of dedicated study and specific ear training. Welcome to the learning curve.
Posted by: Inlanding

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/31/12 08:12 PM

Reiman~
A little tip...

If you are unsure whether the string you are tuning is sharp or flat relative to the reference string, always, always, make sure you gently lower the pitch of the string you are tuning. This also helps to ensure you are on the correct pin/string to begin with.
Posted by: jim ialeggio

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/31/12 08:21 PM

Originally Posted By: Supply
I brought one in from Europe to try it out. If I like it I will carry it and offer it to technicians. I have just tuned a few pianos with it. I will hopefully know more after further testing, so stay tuned...
arf arf


Jurgen, sounds like the BKB tip. I have one of these (#3). I like it better than the current Watanabes for sure (which I think are awful) and like it somewhat better than the Sole tip. I would like to compare it with Jahn tips, but my current Goss lever doesn't accommodate Jahn well.

I find the BKB a better fit than those other tips, but $100 better..not sure. But then again every time I change to a different tip I look forward to changing back to the BKB...I guess that says something...but its not a WOW kind of thing.

Jim Ialeggio
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/31/12 10:04 PM

Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
I like it better than the current Watanabes for sure (which I think are awful)


I'm slowly starting to share this opinion. The one on my Levitan is kind of loose, and it hasn't even gone through 300 tunings, yet.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 08/31/12 11:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Supply
Even good tuners walk away from their tunings with a sense that they have not quite achieved perfection.


Jurgen, that is solid gold.
Posted by: Emmery

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 09/01/12 08:23 AM

Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
Originally Posted By: Supply
I brought one in from Europe to try it out. If I like it I will carry it and offer it to technicians. I have just tuned a few pianos with it. I will hopefully know more after further testing, so stay tuned...
arf arf


Jurgen, sounds like the BKB tip. I have one of these (#3). I like it better than the current Watanabes for sure (which I think are awful) and like it somewhat better than the Sole tip. I would like to compare it with a Jahn tips, but my current Goss lever doesn't accommodate Jahn well.

I find the BKB a better fit than those other tips, but $100 better..not sure. But then again every time I change to a different tips I look forward to changing back to the BKB...I guess that says something...but its not a WOW kind of thing.

Jim Ialeggio


There is absolutely no reason in the world other than gouging to charge well over $100 for a tuning tip. Even the slowest/most exacting/ most expensive manufacturing process (plunge EDM) on A2 quality air hardened alloy steel with top quality plating and QC follow up on this tiny item does not justify a cost like this.
The present faltering/declining economy of this former Euro giant does not justify a ridiculous cost like this it either
IMHO.
Posted by: jim ialeggio

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 09/01/12 08:43 AM

Originally Posted By: Emmery


There is absolutely no reason in the world other than gouging to charge well over $100 for a tuning tip.


I quite disagree. Its a always a question of scale or production, not actual processes, that create these kind of high custom prices...like say, uhh, piano rebuilding...

But once you get into automated scales of production, you get a watanabe, inconsistent and sloppy. Note, I differentiate the current Wantanbe tips from the older tips which reportedly were really nice, though I've never tried one of these older tips.

Jim Ialeggio
Posted by: jim ialeggio

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 09/01/12 08:44 AM

Originally Posted By: Emmery


There is absolutely no reason in the world other than gouging to charge well over $100 for a tuning tip.


I quite disagree. Its a always a question of scale or production, not actual processes, that create these kind of high custom prices...like say, uhh, piano rebuilding...

But once you get into automated scales of production, you get a watanabe, inconsistent and sloppy. Note, I differentiate the current Wantanbe tips from the older tips which reportedly were really nice, though I've never tried one of these older tips.

Jim Ialeggio
Posted by: Emmery

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 09/01/12 09:16 AM

Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
Originally Posted By: Emmery


There is absolutely no reason in the world other than gouging to charge well over $100 for a tuning tip.


I quite disagree. Its a always a question of scale or production, not actual processes, that create these kind of high custom prices...like say, uhh, piano rebuilding...

But once you get into automated scales of production, you get a watanabe, inconsistent and sloppy. Note, I differentiate the current Wantanbe tips from the older tips which reportedly were really nice, though I've never tried one of these older tips.

Jim Ialeggio


I agree with you in part on this Jim as far as some things go, but not with tuning tips. They are being used on a wide variety of tuning pins, both in sizing, conformity and quality. Plus the pins can already be a bit pre-mangled from previous tunings using poor fitting tips. Do we realize the value of a near perfectly machined tip thats being used on parts that are not...nope. So we are left with the durability equation. Making durable tips with the right amount of hardness/toughness is not rocket science and does not involve a 6:1 ratio in cost.

I do believe in quality tools for the right application. All my machinist measuring tools for eg. are Etalon/Helios/Tesa ect..German or Swiss made and they are pricey. They cost a lot to begin with so I don't want to buy another one in my lifetime. If I go 3-5 years with a 20$ tip....I will be dead before I recover the cost of one that costs 6-7 times as much.
Posted by: jim ialeggio

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 09/01/12 10:14 AM

Originally Posted By: Emmery

They are being used on a wide variety of tuning pins, both in sizing, conformity and quality. Plus the pins can already be a bit pre-mangled from previous tunings using poor fitting tips. Do we realize the value of a near perfectly machined tip thats being used on parts that are not...nope.


The inconsistency of the pin tops is a very strong point.

But does that mean fit doesn't matter? My bod' prefers the feedback I get for a snug tip, even though, as you say the pins are so inconsistent to begin with, and worn to boot, that consistency is not there...but still I find the connection in the Watanbes really frustrating.

I don't know where the intersection between adequate fit and pin inconsistency is, but it does seem to be there somewhere. As I said, I like the BKB, but its not a WOW difference. Would I do it again...probably not...I'd figure out how to get a Jahn on my Goss or switch to Charles Faulk's lever, which I intend on doing in the near future anyway.

Jim Ialeggio
Posted by: Olek

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 09/01/12 10:50 AM

Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
Originally Posted By: Emmery


There is absolutely no reason in the world other than gouging to charge well over $100 for a tuning tip.


I quite disagree. Its a always a question of scale or production, not actual processes, that create these kind of high custom prices...like say, uhh, piano rebuilding...

But once you get into automated scales of production, you get a watanabe, inconsistent and sloppy. Note, I differentiate the current Wantanbe tips from the older tips which reportedly were really nice, though I've never tried one of these older tips.

Jim Ialeggio


Very bad new about Watanabe if confirmed, in 12 years I have buy an extra #2 tip , and I still use the old one sometime, it just wobbles a little on some pins.

May be as I buy those from Yamaha the quality differs (I hope so as I have to buy a complete lever for a friend)
Posted by: Supply

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 09/03/12 11:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Emmery
There is absolutely no reason in the world other than gouging to charge well over $100 for a tuning tip.
There are different ways of looking at it. I feel gouged when I buy a cheap tool that doesn't perform properly and it lands in the junk tool drawer. I have never felt gouged when I bought a good quality, albeit expensive tool when it is a tool that I need for my work.

Consider that there are a lot of really poor tips (junk) out there sold for $20 or more. $100.00 for a quality tool just stopped looking so bad.
Consider that the tuning tip will pay for itself by the time you get through 3/4 of the first job of thousands you will reliably be able to do with it. Or if you want to look at it as a piece of inventory that gets depreciated over time, it will add $0.02 more or less to your cost per tuning over 10 or 20 years. Again, the cost starts to look quite reasonable, to me, anyway. (Raise your tuning price by two cents! laugh )

Why not buy a excellent piece of equipment, made by trained and experienced tool and die makers in small batches from the highest quality material?

I call it investment in myself and my business as a professional. Does everyone need to do have it? Of course not. Thank goodness for options and for competition.


Posted by: Weiyan

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 09/04/12 01:57 AM

Just take out my first hammer to test it. Its low quality China made. The gap between the tip and pin is loose, tend to bend the pin. The weight distribution toward head. Very uncomfortable to move from pin to pin. If tune one or two pin, its OK. If tune whole pinao, I don't know. I don't want to use it to tune more than one pin! High end hammer may ten time expensive. Its still cheap compare to most electronic toy.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 09/04/12 02:19 AM

Originally Posted By: Emmery
Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
Originally Posted By: Emmery


There is absolutely no reason in the world other than gouging to charge well over $100 for a tuning tip.


I quite disagree. Its a always a question of scale or production, not actual processes, that create these kind of high custom prices...like say, uhh, piano rebuilding...

But once you get into automated scales of production, you get a watanabe, inconsistent and sloppy. Note, I differentiate the current Wantanbe tips from the older tips which reportedly were really nice, though I've never tried one of these older tips.

Jim Ialeggio


I agree with you in part on this Jim as far as some things go, but not with tuning tips. They are being used on a wide variety of tuning pins, both in sizing, conformity and quality. Plus the pins can already be a bit pre-mangled from previous tunings using poor fitting tips. Do we realize the value of a near perfectly machined tip thats being used on parts that are not...nope. So we are left with the durability equation. Making durable tips with the right amount of hardness/toughness is not rocket science and does not involve a 6:1 ratio in cost.

I do believe in quality tools for the right application. All my machinist measuring tools for eg. are Etalon/Helios/Tesa ect..German or Swiss made and they are pricey. They cost a lot to begin with so I don't want to buy another one in my lifetime. If I go 3-5 years with a 20$ tip....I will be dead before I recover the cost of one that costs 6-7 times as much.


The problmem is that in pianos the low/cheap quality seem to be used as the etalon - if all the tips you find are lesser grade steel, then a good one get pricey because it is made in small batches.

Usually a tuning pin may not marr the tip, as its metal is soft. a good tip will correct a marred tuning pin somehow.
Posted by: Rieman

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 09/24/12 05:43 PM

Does someone have a concrete tips on not too expensive tuning hammer?
Where can i buy one?
I lookt at
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=pian...r&_osacat=0
and
http://www.thomann.de/gb/jahn_klavierstimmset_pro.htm
Posted by: Dave B

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 09/24/12 08:19 PM

All piano supply houses offer quality mid priced tuning levers. For example; I find Shaff products to be professional quality at very reasonable prices. If your really going on the cheap, get a gooseneck tuning lever. I know some long experienced tuners who swear by them.
Posted by: Rieman

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 09/25/12 03:20 AM

Is this site good?
http://www.pianosupply.com/ips/
Posted by: erichlof

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 09/25/12 09:34 AM

This is more reputable:
http://www.pianosupplies.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=tuningequipment

Check out the Basic Tuning kit, which will get you started for about as little money as possible, but will still give you decent tools. Try to stay away from any tuning hammer less than 50 or 60 bucks. Also watch out for imitations that have pretty-looking wood and pretty photos, but the quality of the steel machining on the business end of the lever is poor, leaving you with a useless tool (such as the website you linked to, from what I've read and heard here on the forums).

Good luck on your search!
Posted by: Violeta Cerviño

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 01/29/13 11:55 PM

Loved this post, I even laughed more than once. But gathered some really helpful information.
Posted by: kpembrook

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 01/30/13 01:19 AM

Originally Posted By: erichlof
This is more reputable:
http://www.pianosupplies.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=tuningequipment

Check out the Basic Tuning kit, which will get you started for about as little money as possible, but will still give you decent tools. Try to stay away from any tuning hammer less than 50 or 60 bucks. Also watch out for imitations that have pretty-looking wood and pretty photos, but the quality of the steel machining on the business end of the lever is poor, leaving you with a useless tool (such as the website you linked to, from what I've read and heard here on the forums).

Good luck on your search!


also www.stevespianoservice.com
Posted by: kpembrook

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 01/30/13 01:24 AM

Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio


But does that mean fit doesn't matter?

As I said, I like the BKB, but its not a WOW difference.
Jim Ialeggio


Well, fit does matter as far as the tip actually grabbing the pin at some point, instead of kind of stripping out the way the junk tips do. But there is a divergence as far as "tight fit" is concerned. Some folk like a tight, firm fit and others like a loose fit. I'm in the latter category but know quality tuners in both camps.

What is BKB?

My tuning tip just failed today where it threads to the lever. Fortunately CA let me finish the tuning.
I find that tips die after about 3000 tunings . . .
Posted by: BDB

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 01/30/13 01:33 AM

I have never had a tip die, but I just renewed one of the ends of my tuning lever extension with a $5 1/8" pipe die from the hardware store. I took a little off the end with a grinder so the tip would not bottom out, too.
Posted by: Mark R.

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 01/30/13 04:49 AM

Keith,

BKB is short for B.&K. Baumgärtel:
http://www.pianoteile-baumgaertel.de/

It's one of the (more) reputable German piano parts & tools suppliers.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 01/30/13 06:31 AM

BKB is possibly selling their own tools but the origin of most of their calalog is Meyne, Jahnn, possibly Pianotek, or Joe Goss, Spurlock.

They take what is interesting to re sell.

Jahnn tips and tuning levers are among the most long lasting (actually around 5 years of dayly tuning iof you nudge a lot, probably life lasting if you are cautious and tune pianos with decent pins.

Basic precautions are :
Take off the dust on the tuning pins , it act as emeri powder on the tip and pin)

Use the good tip, the metal of the pin is often soft enough that a good tip will make new shjarp edges on a lightly buried pin (assuming your technique is not bumbing much)

I have a tuning hammer with its original tip, dating 1930 or even more

The tip have zero play. the hammer is very light and rigid. I use it on most old pianos and the modern ones with thin tuning pins.

Heavy hammer seem to help on new pianos (floor tuning) but the benefit you have with the hammer inertia is somewhat lost by the effort on the scapula muscles just to move the hammer from pin to pin.
Posted by: S. Phillips

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 01/31/13 08:58 AM

I'm tuning daily with ancient tuning hammers that so far have never failed me. One was given to me in 1977 by a customer who had found it in a piano bench of an old used piano. The tip has never worn out. It is a very old Hale with it's rosewood handle. The other I purchased in 1975, also a Hale. However, I'm a huge fan of Jurgen's tool selection intuition. I bought the adjustable voicing tool several years ago and it has saved me countless hours in voicing. The let off tool that fits American Steinways on one end and Hamburg on the other is another that has a permanent spot in my bag. I've bought other tuning hammers over the years but keep coming back to the old ones so I sort of have the feeling that I'm working on borrowed time. I know I need a new one as backup, so if Jurgen likes it, I'll buy it. Who knows, it might supplant my antique hammers.
Posted by: Supply

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 02/01/13 04:31 PM

Thank you Sally for this glowing and unsolicited testimonial. I wish I could say that the check is in the mail, however, that would blow my annual advertising budget.

Word of mouth is priceless anyhow, especially when coming from someone as yourself. (For those who don't know, Sally has held a number of high profile positions including head of Technical Services for Bechstein USA. When she speaks, people listen.)
Posted by: pianotune2

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 02/01/13 06:17 PM

I don't know why guys spend money on tips and hammers. I just use my fingers, you can really feel the pin movement this way, haha. However if its been a long day and my fingers are tired I use a Charles Faulk hammer. I also don't think $130 is a lot to spend on a tip if it works well. If you are just starting out tuning I can understand not coughing up that kind of cash, but when this is your career invest in the best.
Posted by: Emmery

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 02/01/13 11:05 PM

I worked many years in high end machining and Tool and die with a great deal of that time quoting prices for items far more sophisticated than an internally splined tuning tip. I would have to be insane to pay $130 for a tuning tip. There is no applicable alloy, heat treating process, machining operation or finish that can justify that cost for this item....period. I would love to see any proof showing otherwise.

I've had the odd tip not last as long as I wished it would from even good names like Watanabe, but have several which have lasted many, many years for 1/10 that cost.
Posted by: Gary Fowler

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/29/13 02:57 AM

Some tuning hammers fit some pianos better than others. I carry about 3 different ones around
Posted by: Olek

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/29/13 03:19 AM

DUe to the "smoothness" of the pin material, I suggest that an ideal tip will "reshape" the tuning pin.

I have seen enough edges rounded by bad tips, I received tips that had a very thin strip shaped in star and where putting all the torque on a small part of the pin.

The cost may sound really high indeed, but if it allow to keep an optimal fit for a definite number of decades, it may be worth it.

I rate well tips as Yamaha (not Watanabe, but I do not know them well, my tips are coming from Yamaha) Jahnn levers and tips seem also to be the ones that last the longer, for the ones I used) Sole, Hale, always wear at some point. Jahnn seemed to last 3 times that if not more, I use a student long thin lever for stringing, and it did not take any play.
Posted by: Loren D

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/29/13 06:22 AM

A customer of mine tried to touch up her piano with a cheapo lever, and the tip deformed to the point that the tuning pin became imbedded in it. Neither she nor I could get the lever off the pin. I even tried a hammer shank extractor as a last resort, using the plate as leverage, hoping it would separate the hammer from the pin.

In the end, I had to cut the string and turn the pin and lever out as a single unit, then install a new pin and string.
Posted by: Maximillyan

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/29/13 07:38 AM

Originally Posted By: Loren D
A customer of mine tried to touch up her piano with a cheapo lever, and the tip deformed to the point that the tuning pin became imbedded in it. Neither she nor I could get the lever off the pin. I even tried a hammer shank extractor as a last resort, using the plate as leverage, hoping it would separate the hammer from the pin.

In the end, I had to cut the string and turn the pin and lever out as a single unit, then install a new pin and string.

This situation can happen to anyone. Very soft tip-head wrench "fused" with the pin. To avoid this, you need to make a homemade key only if the forging equipment. We must forge the verge of a pin. We also need solid steel.
Women should not be given into the hands of t. hammer
Posted by: Emmery

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/29/13 07:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Maximillyan

Women should not be given into the hands of t. hammer


"T-Hammer" is a blues/rock band here in North America and they treat their women fine. I believe you meant to say that a woman should not be allowed, or doesn't have the capability to properly use a tuning hammer....which is actually quite a sexist innapropriate remark. I know a few female tuners who would "tune yer a$$" with one if you said that to them personally. Shame
Posted by: Loren D

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/29/13 07:58 AM

Originally Posted By: Emmery
Originally Posted By: Maximillyan

Women should not be given into the hands of t. hammer


"T-Hammer" is a blues/rock band here in North America and they treat their women fine. I believe you meant to say that a woman should not be allowed, or doesn't have the capability to properly use a tuning hammer....which is actually quite a sexist innapropriate remark. I know a few female tuners who would "tune yer a$$" with one if you said that to them personally. Shame


I would just say to be mindful of cultural differences, which surely vary from country to country.
Posted by: Maximillyan

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/29/13 08:02 AM

Originally Posted By: Emmery
Originally Posted By: Maximillyan

Women should not be given into the hands of t. hammer

who would "tune yer a$$" with one if you said that to them personally. Shame

I'm talking about the lady not professional
Posted by: Mark R.

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/29/13 10:02 AM

Originally Posted By: Loren D
I would just say to be mindful of cultural differences


Indeed, especially when posting on an English-speaking forum from Kazakhstan. Really, I don't see what gender has to do with inferior tuning tools.
Posted by: Emmery

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/29/13 03:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: Emmery
Originally Posted By: Maximillyan

Women should not be given into the hands of t. hammer


"T-Hammer" is a blues/rock band here in North America and they treat their women fine. I believe you meant to say that a woman should not be allowed, or doesn't have the capability to properly use a tuning hammer....which is actually quite a sexist innapropriate remark. I know a few female tuners who would "tune yer a$$" with one if you said that to them personally. Shame


I would just say to be mindful of cultural differences, which surely vary from country to country.


I'm not sure who your statement was directed to because of the double quote, but if it included me...

It is polite, and possibly also advantageous, to abide by the customs of a society when one is a visitor there; the internet however is neutral ground.

max, I've been in the position of having to repair DIY jobs at least a dozen times over the years and every one of the "non-proffesionals" was a man. Maybe its a rare coincidence, but I look at it this way...I beleive women in general have more common sense to not tackle something thats way over their head then men do. This is a good thing, not a bad thing.

My apologies either way, if your comment wasn't meant to be sexist...sometimes these bing translaters mutilate a language.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/29/13 06:32 PM

Once we receives asian pianos with tuning pins so hard, on one of them the tuner deformed many pins while tuning and broke one.

One of the tuning pin could not move at all, it bend, twist, but no way to turn it, as glued)

I dont know what lever had my colleague but he may have marred its tips at the same time as the pins on the piano.
The piano was returned of course.

I even tried to heat the locked tuning pin with a torch, no effect.

Many of my colleagues had locally made tuning levers with a not precise fit (a dimension or angle question within the tips)

I dont know why some times really seem to fall tight on almost all pins, while others are always rocking more than wanted.

Posted by: Loren D

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/29/13 06:42 PM

Originally Posted By: Emmery


I'm not sure who your statement was directed to because of the double quote, but if it included me...

It is polite, and possibly also advantageous, to abide by the customs of a society when one is a visitor there; the internet however is neutral ground.


Sorry for the confusion, Emmery; I actually meant that for Max.
Posted by: accordeur

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/29/13 06:59 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLl0k1MpaQE&feature=youtu.be

The better the tools you buy, the better the job gets done.
Posted by: Maximillyan

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/29/13 10:54 PM

Originally Posted By: Emmery
Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: Emmery
Originally Posted By: Maximillyan

Women should not be given into the hands of t. hammer


"T-Hammer" is a blues/rock band here in North America and they treat their women fine. I believe you meant to say that a woman should not be allowed, or doesn't have the capability to properly use a tuning hammer....which is actually quite a sexist innapropriate remark. I know a few female tuners who would "tune yer a$$" with one if you said that to them personally. Shame


I would just say to be mindful of cultural differences, which surely vary from country to country.

My apologies either way, if your comment wasn't meant to be sexist...sometimes these bing translaters mutilate a language.

There is no sexism.
On a woman keeps the whole world. We are to honor women in all its acts, even if she does that wrong often. I'm just against homemade t. hammer of a soft metal. A woman will tuning own piano with it's and she can be seriously to maim the piano. But to fix will need the tech-man
Posted by: BDB

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/30/13 03:02 AM

There are women who are far better piano technicians than you are, Max.
Posted by: Maximillyan

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/30/13 03:50 AM

Originally Posted By: BDB
There are women who are far better piano technicians than you are, Max.

There is always the best and the worst. This is the dialectic of life. BDB, you have not thing opened. If you wanna offend Max, he never is offended
Posted by: rxd

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/31/13 12:09 AM

Originally Posted By: Maximillyan


There is no sexism..........
.
................. A woman will tuning own piano with it's and she can be seriously to maim the piano. But to fix will need the tech-man


Max. Maybe it's the translator or perhaps there's something I'm not understanding, would you explain to me why you can make this statement?
Posted by: Maximillyan

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/31/13 12:33 AM

Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: Maximillyan


There is no sexism..........
.
................. A woman will tuning own piano with it's and she can be seriously to maim the piano. But to fix will need the tech-man


Max. Maybe it's the translator or perhaps there's something I'm not understanding, would you explain to me why you can make this statement?

I'll try again.
Where I lives, a woman should give birth and do your home deals and educate children.
A man is breadwinner. A woman should always listen carefully to her husband. She has to do everything the way He solves. If we ignore it, it will be bad, I'm think
I am not against women who repair their own piano. However, very often, she do not understand what do. She can "lick sides of a pin" when working homemade hammer. To correct this you need a Man. That's what I was trying to say.
Regards, Max
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/31/13 01:51 AM

Originally Posted By: accordeur
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLl0k1MpaQE&feature=youtu.be

The better the tools you buy, the better the job gets done.


Jean, the third tip, the long one. Was that an old Hale, like maybe 35 years or so old?
Posted by: rxd

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/31/13 03:04 AM

Originally Posted By: Maximillyan
Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: Maximillyan


There is no sexism..........
.
................. A woman will tuning own piano with it's and she can be seriously to maim the piano. But to fix will need the tech-man


Max. Maybe it's the translator or perhaps there's something I'm not understanding, would you explain to me why you can make this statement?

I'll try again.
Where I lives, a woman should give birth and do your home deals and educate children.
A man is breadwinner. A woman should always listen carefully to her husband. She has to do everything the way He solves. If we ignore it, it will be bad, I'm think
I am not against women who repair their own piano. However, very often, she do not understand what do. She can "lick sides of a pin" when working homemade hammer. To correct this you need a Man. That's what I was trying to say.
Regards, Max


I see. So it's not about comparative strength, or anything like that, but more about comparative levels of understanding?

Would you say this is cultural or a religious teaching?
Posted by: Olek

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/31/13 03:15 AM

The family is in trouble with breadwinners as you, let me say...

Women are not "superior" or inferior" to men (while I have seen some cases...) particularly when the man think with his (tuning lever) as many have a strong tendency for...

I will give NO excuse for that way of thinking, sorry.

If you wife was allowed to learn to tune, she probably would do very well by now.

Why? because women are way more conscious of the difficulties in life and they are astute enough to catch all opportunities to learn how to survive better or more easily.

Many men are too much proud of themselves , in comparison, with or without reason is not the question.


That could be considered sexist, but as I am better than you all I don't care !!!
Posted by: Maximillyan

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/31/13 03:51 AM

Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: Maximillyan
Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: Maximillyan


There is no sexism..........
.
................. A woman will tuning own piano with it's and she can be seriously to maim the piano. But to fix will need the tech-man


Max. Maybe it's the translator or perhaps there's something I'm not understanding, would you explain to me why you can make this statement?

I'll try again.
Where I lives, a woman should give birth and do your home deals and educate children.
A man is breadwinner. A woman should always listen carefully to her husband. She has to do everything the way He solves. If we ignore it, it will be bad, I'm think
I am not against women who repair their own piano. However, very often, she do not understand what do. She can "lick sides of a pin" when working homemade hammer. To correct this you need a Man. That's what I was trying to say.
Regards, Max


I see. So it's not about comparative strength, or anything like that, but more about comparative levels of understanding?

Would you say this is cultural or a religious teaching?

Rather, it is hard condition. To survive in difficult economic, political and racial contradictions our reality
Posted by: Maximillyan

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/31/13 04:01 AM

Originally Posted By: Olek

If you wife was allowed to learn to tune, she probably would do very well by now.

Why? because women are way more conscious of the difficulties in life and they are astute enough to catch all opportunities to learn how to survive better or more easily
.

but as I am better than you all I don't care !!!

Isaac, you have not correctly understood me. I'm for equality of the sexes. I said only that: " I only sorry for the piano, which spoiled the non-professional female technician. And no words more, ALL!"
Posted by: rxd

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/31/13 09:34 AM

Originally Posted By: Olek
The family is in trouble with breadwinners as you, let me say...

Women are not "superior" or inferior" to men (while I have seen some cases...) particularly when the man think with his (tuning lever) as many have a strong tendency for...

I will give NO excuse for that way of thinking, sorry.

If you wife was allowed to learn to tune, she probably would do very well by now.

Why? because women are way more conscious of the difficulties in life and they are astute enough to catch all opportunities to learn how to survive better or more easily.

Many men are too much proud of themselves , in comparison, with or without reason is not the question.


That could be considered sexist, but as I am better than you all I don't care !!!


Isaac,

I find your post easier to take if I imagine it with slurred speech.
In your attempt to chastise Max you have told us more about yourself than we care to know.
Some of what you say sounds like something a drunk would say half an hour after he should have gone home.

Talk to you in the morning.

In vino veritas?
Posted by: Emmery

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/31/13 09:41 AM

Originally Posted By: Maximillyan
Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: Maximillyan


There is no sexism..........
.
................. A woman will tuning own piano with it's and she can be seriously to maim the piano. But to fix will need the tech-man


Max. Maybe it's the translator or perhaps there's something I'm not understanding, would you explain to me why you can make this statement?

I'll try again.
Where I lives, a woman should give birth and do your home deals and educate children.
A man is breadwinner. A woman should always listen carefully to her husband. She has to do everything the way He solves. If we ignore it, it will be bad, I'm think
I am not against women who repair their own piano. However, very often, she do not understand what do. She can "lick sides of a pin" when working homemade hammer. To correct this you need a Man. That's what I was trying to say.
Regards, Max


The First Law of Holes by Denis Healey states,

"If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging."
Posted by: accordeur

Re: Why not using cheap tuning hammers? - 05/31/13 05:40 PM

Originally Posted By: OperaTenor
Originally Posted By: accordeur
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLl0k1MpaQE&feature=youtu.be

The better the tools you buy, the better the job gets done.


Jean, the third tip, the long one. Was that an old Hale, like maybe 35 years or so old?



Hi Jim, I've had that tip for 27 years. It was given to me by my father when I started in the trade. He bought it along with a bunch of tools from a retired tuner. So I figure it's probably even older than 35 years. There are no markings on it, but it does look like a Hale. I bought a long watannabe when I bought my Fujan, but I did not like it. That tip still performs as well as the day I got it.

All the best